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Fancy and the Poet

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Poet—

Enchanting spirit!—at thy votive shrine
I lowly bend a simple wreath to twine;
O Come from the ideal world and fling
Thy airy fingers o’er my rugged string;
Sweep the dark chords of thought and give to earth
The thrilling song that tells thy heavenly birth—

Fancy—

Happiness when from earth she fled
      I passed on her heavenward flight—
“Take this crown,” the spirit said
      “Of heaven’s own golden light—
To the sons of sorrow the token give,
And bid them follow my steps and live!”—

I took the crown from the snowy hand,
      It flashed like a living star;
I turned this dark earth to a fairy land
      When I hither drive my car;
But I placed the crown round my tresses bright,
And man only saw its reflected light—

Many a lovely dream I’ve given,
      And many a song divine;
But never!—oh never—that gift of heaven
      Shall mortals temples twine—
Hope and love in the circlet glow!
’Tis all too bright for a world of woe—

Poet—

Hist—Beautiful spirit!—why silent so soon?
My ear drinks each word of thy magical tune;
My lyre owns thy touch—and its tremulous strings
Vibrate beneath the soft play of thy wings;
Resume thy sweet lay, and reveal, ere we part
Thy home lovely spirit—and say what thou art?”—

Fancy—

The gleam of a star thou cans’t not see—
Of an eye ’neath its sleeping lid,
The sound of a far off melody
      The voice of a stream that’s hid;
Such must I still remain to thee
A wonder and a mystery!—

I live in the poet’s dream
      I flash on the painter’s eye;
I dwell in the moon’s pale beam,
      In the depths of the star lit sky;
I traverse the earth, the air, the main,
And bind young hearts in my magic chain—

I float on the fleecy cloud
      My voice is in ev’ry breeze;
I speak in the tempest loud,
      In the sigh of the waving trees—
To the sons of earth—in a mystic tone,
I tell of a world more bright than their own!—
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Fancy and the Poet

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  • Susanna Moodie's importance in Canadian literary history derives partly from her prominence as a contributor to the Literary Garland, the most successful literary periodical in the British North American provinces in the mid nineteenth century, but mostly from the quality of her classic settlement narrative Roughing It in the Bush (1852) and its first sequel, Life in the Clearings (1853). The former work in particular has received much attention from Canadian critics and has been controversial. Some early reviewers took exception to its negative views of Canada and its declared intent to discourage British gentlefolk from immigrating to the country, but it is a complex and engaging book that has often been perceived as much more than a guide to prospective emigrants. In 1972 Margaret Atwood's book of poems The Journals of Susanna Moodie brought Moodie to increased prominence through its presentation of an apt model of Canadian experience and...

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